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Basic Overview of Powder Coatings

Contents
History
Powder properties
Chemistries
Manufacture

Application processes
Color

History
Early 1950s -first thermoplastic powders applied onto heated metal
Late 1950s -first thermosetting powders for pipeline protection (Shell)
1962

- dispersion via extrusion (Shell)

1964

- first epoxy-based decorative powder coatings

1964

- first dedicated powder spray equipment (Sames)

1970

- first polyester-based durable coatings. (Scado & UCB)

1970s oil crisis.


Growth rates from the 1970 - 1990s averaged 15% with peak growth
rates often achieving 25%
2000 Growth in mature markets <5%;
Growth in rapidly developing economies 10%+

Features of powder
Zero VOC
Comply with environmental legislation
H&S, reduced fire risk
Densely crosslinked coating, high Tg
Good barrier & adhesion properties
Easier equipment cleaning and removal of uncured overspray
Over-sprayed powder can be recycled
high usage rates (95%)
reduced air pollution & effluent
Usually cured by thermal energy

conventional powders unsuitable for heat-sensitive substrates like wood,


plastics
Film thickness dictated by particle size
generally thicker than wet paint films (50-80m)

Coating Properties
100% Solids

no VOCs

Thermosets

150-200C for 5-20 mins

Film Thickness

50-100m

Melt Viscosity

10000 mPas

Product Tg

45-55C

Film Tg

60-110C

Chemistry
99% thermosetting powders
Chemistry used in a product depends upon end use
requirements.
Main binder systems currently in use:
Polyester
UV resistance
Mechanical & chemical resistance only fair
Epoxy
Chemical resistance
Poor UV durability
Polyester/epoxy (hybrid)

Powder chemistries
Main cross-linking reactions used in powder coatings are as follows:
Epoxy - carboxylic acid
Too slow for ambient-cure coatings but very widely used in powders
PE/TGIC, epoxy-polyester hybrids and many acrylics all use this scheme
N.B. TGIC is a mutagen; TOXIC labelling now required.

Carboxylic acid - hydroxyl


e.g. PE/Primid

Hydroxyl - isocyanate
Polyurethane powders comprise OH-functional polyesters crosslinked
with isocyanate adducts

Epoxy - amine
Epoxy - phenolic

Summary of Chemistries

Epoxy

Epoxy
Polyester

Standard
Polyester

Superdurable

PU

Fluoro

GMA
Acrylic

Acrylic
Hybrid

Exterior
Durability

Very
Poor

Poor

Good

Very Good

Good

Excellent

Very
Good

Medium

Corrosion
Resistance

Very
Good

Very
Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Impact

Very
Good

Very
Good

Good

Poor

Good

Good

Poor

Poor

Flexibility

Very
Good

Very
Good

Good

Medium

Good

Good

Good

Good

Adhesion

Very
Good

Very
Good

Good

Good

Very
Good

Medium

Very
Good

Very
Good

Chemical
Resistance

Very
Good

Very
Good

Good

Good

Good

Very
Good

Very
Good

Very
Good

Heat
Resistance

Very
Poor

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Abrasion

Very
Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Manufacture
Pre-weighing of dry RMs
Pre-mixing
Off-line tint
Extrusion (melt mixing & homogenising)

Micronising (milling)
Classification (particle size control)
Collect finished powder

QC
colour & gloss
mechanical properties
particle size

Powder Manufacture

Premix
Extrusion
Cooling
Kibbling
Milling
Sieving
Packing

Interpon

Application
Fluidized Bed Methods
Hot dipping
Earliest means of application (1950s). Immerse pre-heated substrate in
fluidized bed of powder
good all-over coverage
thick film build, poor control
Electrostatic fluidized bed
Bed contains electrodes which ionize fluidizing air; this in turn charges
powder
No pre-heating; 30-100kV
good coverage
poor control of film build
Faraday cage effects
electrical safety problems
Fluidized bed application is now little used

Application
Spray application
Most widely used means of application
Two types:

electrostatic (corona)
tribostatic (friction)

Spray application
Corona spray
Powder gun contains electrode at c.50-100kV
Ionized air molecules charge powder particles, which deposit on
earthed workpiece
Easy control of film build
Back-ionization - repulsion of free ions trapped in deposited
powder layer
Faraday cage effects - powder particles cannot penetrate
complex shapes
-V

field lines

Spray application (contd.)


Tribostatic (Tribo) Spray
Powder particles are charged by friction between each other and between
powder & gun
Magnitude of charge transfer depends upon:
materials used (triboelectric series)
intimacy of contact and residence time
particle size, shape and relative surface area

Tribo guns commonly have a PTFE lining (bottom of tribo series, all polymeric
materials charge +ve relative to PTFE)
No Faraday cage - only weak electric field
Back-ionization onset also delayed

+V

High maintenance costs - gun wear


Lower powder throughput than corona
Difficulty charging fine powder

No Field Lines

Formation of cured film


Powder particles are retained on the substrate by electrostatic attraction
until the coating is cured
Various types of curing oven can be used:
convection oven (most common)
medium-wave infra-red
induction

Film formation process:


DH
Powder
particles

DH
Particles melt &
coalesce

Crosslinking &
hardening

Typical Tests
Gloss
Gloss measurements are made to
check that the gloss is within
allowable tolerances.

Typical gloss levels are:


Gloss

over 80 %

Semi-gloss

66% - 79%

Satin

55% - 65%

Matt

20% - 30%

Typical Tests
Film Thickness

The powder coating is formulated to


be used at a specified target film
thickness..

Typical Tests
Adhesion by cross cut
A lattice pattern is cut through the coating

with a blade and tape iapplied over the


lattice and then removed rapidly.

Performance is measured by counting the


number of squares removed. Normal
standard is Gt0 (no removal on tape test)
if coating has been correctly applied and
cured fully

Typical Tests
Pencil Hardness

Is a measure of the hardness of the


coating.

Performance is measured as the hardest


pencil to give no rupture to the film

Typical Tests
Color Control
A spectrophotometer is used to assess
color.
Reflectance values are measured at
several wavelengths, computed and
calculations made in the computer.

Color differences are quoted in terms of:


Lightness

DL

Red/Green

Da

Yellow/Blue

Db

Chroma (color strength)

Dc

Hue Angle (shade)

Dh

Description of color
Lightness
Light colors

Dark colors
Chroma
Strong colors
Weak colors
Hue
Red, green, yellow, blue

Lightness

Numerical Description of Color


CIEL*a*b*

(Commission Internationale de lEclairage)

A Uniform Color Space


3 Dimensional
L* lightness/darkness

a* redness/greenness
b* yellowness/blueness

Color Difference from standard


Total difference form a standard

DE = {(DL*2) + (Da*2) + (Db*2)}1/2


DE*>1 the color difference is perceptible.
Lightness difference:

DL* is positive, the trial is lighter than the standard.


DL* is negative, the trial is darker than the standard.

Color Difference from standard


Difference on red-green axis:

Da* is positive or negative the trial is redder or


greener than the standard.
Difference on yellow-blue axis:
Db* is positive or negative the trial is yellower or
bluer than the standard.

Tolerancing in L*a*b*

Color is measured
Limits are set

Instrumentation
Spectrophotometer
Color fingerprint i.e. Reflectance spectrum